Tuesday, 28 December 2010

December 28, 2010

Born on this date
Happy Birthday, Heather Pick!

120 years ago

A band of Sioux Indians led by Big Foot, who had fled to the badlands, were captured by the U.S. 7th Cavalry and brought to Wounded Knee creek in South Dakota.

40 years ago

World events
The military tribunal in Spain trying 16 Basque nationalists handed down harsh verdicts, including death sentences for six of the accused. Three of the six were sentenced to death by firing squad twice (wouldn’t once be enough?). Sentences for the others ranged from 12 to 70 years, but one of the female defendants was acquitted. The verdicts and sentences provoked protests and pleas for mercy from around the world, and Basque guerrillas threatened retaliation if the death sentences were carried out.

Three suspects in the October 17 murder of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte--Paul Rose, 27; his brother Jacques, 23; and Francis Simard, 23--were captured in a Quebec farmhouse, having earlier eluded police in Montreal. The three were associated with the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ).

U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, in a year-end review, revealed that U.S. combat deaths in Vietnam had dropped to a five-year low. Almost-complete figures for 1970 showed 4,180 combat deaths, more than 10,000 fewer than in 1968, and less than half the number killed in 1969. U.S. wounded for 1970 numbered 30,425--slightly more than in 1966, but much below the numbers from 1967-1969. Mr. Laird said that U.S. air attacks had declined 36% from 1969 and 48% from 1968.

After almost four months of debate in the cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir announced that Israel would return to the Middle East peace talks under the auspices of United Nations mediator Gunnar Jarring.

30 years ago

The day after leftist guerrillas had begun an offensive against government troops in northern El Salvador, the commander of the Salvadoran army reported that he had the situation in hand.

The government of Mexico announced its plans to cancel two fishing treaties between itself and the United States. The first was a 1976 agreement that gave the U.S. a quota for snapper and grouper caught in Mexican Gulf and Pacific waters, which would be terminated in one year. The second was a 1977 treaty that permitted Mexico a squid allocation of the eastern seaboard of the United States, which would be cancelled within six months of the delivery of the notice. This notice--which was delivered to the U.S. State Department on December 29--was seen as a blow to efforts to produce a treaty between the countries on the more important tuna fishing industry. Mexico and the U.S. had been engaged in a "tuna war" since a July embargo on tuna imports from Mexico was imposed by the U.S.A.

The U.S.S.R. delivered a formal protest to Iran asking for the Iranian government to make repairs to and to beef up security around the Soviet embassy in Tehran. The day before, Afghans living in Iran had broken into the embassy’s compound to protest on the first anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The formal protest message from the U.S.S.R. did not note that the protesters were Afghans.

An announcement issued by a group of researchers at the University of Utah reported that they had kept a calf alive for 32 weeks with a man-made heart, and requested permission to implant a similar device in a human being. A university panel was set up to review the possibility of the human implant. The artificial heart, it was thought, could be used to keep a heart patient alive long enough for surgeons to locate another human heart to be used in a transplant operation.

Britain’s Independent Broadcasting Authority announced that the contract for "breakfast television" had been awarded to the new company TV-am.

25 years ago

Hit parade
U.S. top 10 (Cash Box)
1 Say You, Say Me--Lionel Richie (2nd week at #1)
2 Party All the Time--Eddie Murphy
3 Alive and Kicking--Simple Minds
4 Broken Wings--Mr. Mister
5 That’s What Friends are For--Dionne and Friends
6 Small Town--John Cougar Mellencamp
7 Election Day--Arcadia
8 Separate Lives--Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin
9 Talk to Me--Stevie Nicks
10 Perfect Way--Scritti Politti

The United States tested an X-ray laser, a component of the Strategic Defense Initiative anti-missile defense system, by detonating a hydrogen bomb under the Nevada desert. An X-ray laser would convert the energy released by a nuclear explosion into a burst of X-rays.

The SkyTrain light rail transit system began operating in the metro Vancouver area.

20 years ago

Economics and finance
The United States Commerce Department said that the index of leading economic indicators had declined 1.2% in November. The index had now dropped for five consecutive months, with a decline of three straight months generally regarded as indicating a recession.

10 years ago

Passengers aboard a British Airways jumbo jet screamed in terror when a man burst into the cockpit and sent the plane into a steep dive during a night flight from London to Nairobi. Several passengers subdued and bound the 27-year-old Kenyan intruder as he attacked the pilot. The co-pilot regained control of the plane after a 3,000-foot descent.

Politics and government
U.S. President-elect George W. Bush named Donald Rumsfeld as his choice for Secretary of Defense. Mr. Rumsfeld had held the position in the administration of President Gerald Ford from 1975-1977.

The United States Census Bureau put the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000 at 281,421,906, a 13.2% increase from 1990. On the basis of unadjusted state figures, as required by law, there would be eight states gaining seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 10 states losing seats. California, already the most populous state, had added 4,111,627 residents, more than any other state. Nevada had the highest rate of gain, 66.3%. North Dakota had the smallest total increase--3,400--and the lowest rate of increase--0.5%. The District of Columbia’s population declined 5.7%.

U.S. retail chain Montgomery Ward & Co., a century-old company, announced that it would cease to operate, closing 250 stores and ending employment for 28,000 workers.

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